Preventing hamstring injury

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Hamstring injuries are a common injury in the running and jumping athlete and can cause both time away from the game as well as frustration for the athlete due to their propensity for reoccurrence.

A study of AFL clubs found that each club averaged over 6 new hamstring injuries in their players EVERY season and caused at least one player per week to be unavailable for selection. With an occurrence rate of nearly twice the next most common injury (ACL) and a reoccurrence rate of 23%, hamstring injuries are a common and costly injury if not rehabilitated correctly.

Another study found footballers were 3 times more likely to re-injure their hamstring within the first year of initial injury, thus showing that complete treatment after injury is very important.

So, how can we minimise our chance of injuring our hamstrings?

The hamstring complex is made of 3 separate muscles at the back on the thigh called:

– semimembranosus

– semitendinosus

– bicep femoris

All 3 muscles attach above the hip and below the knee and so can have an effect on both your hip and knee control.


A study in 2011 found that following a preseason programme of training hamstrings eccentrically (see the clip of Nordic hamstring exercise), there was a 70% reduction in reoccurrence of hamstring injuries. This is a quick exercise that can easily be incorporated into your normal training programme, but do note that it is best to build up the repetitions gradually to avoid a lot of after exercise muscle soreness. The exercise is completed by having someone hold your ankles, whilst you lower yourself forwards as far as you can. Use your arms to catch yourself and then push yourself back up.

Progression of sets and reps is as follows:

week 1: 2×5 reps once per week

week 2: 2×6 reps twice per week

week 3: 3×6-8 reps, 3x a week

week 4: 3×8-10 reps, 3x a week

week 5-10: 3sets, 12-10-8 reps, 3x a week

week 10+: 3 sets, 12-10-8 reps, once a week

Along with good hamstring strength it has also been shown that it is important to have good balance of strength of the other thigh muscles including the quadriceps (front thigh muscles), adductors (groin muscles) & abductors (gluteals) to minimise your risk of injury.

If you need to prevent a recurrent Hamstring injury to get the best out of your sport, give us a call and we will tailor a strengthening programme for you, to ensure it is specific for your sporting requirements.


ocean view physiotherapy
central coast foot & ankle physiotherapy
86 ocean view drive  wamberal

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